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The words “interior decorator” and “interior designer” are two phrases people use when looking for help with their interior home design or decorating project. Although an interior designer or interior decorator will have expertise and the power to produce stunning interiors — in addition to functions that frequently overlap — they are NOT the same thing.

Merriam-Webster defines interior design as, “the art or practice of planning and supervising the design and execution of architectural interiors and their furnishings.” When you look up interior decorator – it’s says, “See interior design”. No wonder people confuse the two! Here is an overview and highlights of the distinctions between the two.

Interior Designers

The American Culture of Interior Designers (ASID) identifies an interior designer as someone who, “Is professionally trained in creating a functional and quality interior environment. Qualified through education, experience and examination, a professional designer can identify, research and creatively resolve issues and lead to a healthy, safe and comfortable physical environment.” At the core, interior design is blending art, science, human behavior and human emotion to create functional and inspiring environments within spaces that architects design.

Designers have a broad number of duties including: arranging an area to match its purpose, ensuring all design work is complaint with applicable building and safety regulations, acting as a project manager during construction and remodeling. A designer can also be accountable for creating the right acoustic environment through design and selecting the right kind of materials for decor. This is just a partial list of  responsibilities a designer can have on any given project.

Designers are usually required to have a license, but that varies by state. The license is issued after  successful completion of the NCIDQ – National Council for Interior Design Qualification – exam. When you find a designer that is licensed, you know that you have found a certified expert in designing interior spaces.

Interior Decorators

Decorators are mainly focused on area design — color, material, fixtures, lighting and more. Decorating is usually thought of as the decorating or enhancing of the room with suitable (frequently trendy or appealing) items.

Now you might be thinking to yourself, “Don’t designers do this, too?”

The clear answer is usually yes, however the greatest distinction is the designer performs this service with an eye for how this one aspect fits into the overall goals of the design strategy. For example, when it comes to flooring, a decorator would make choices based on materials, coloring, style and overall look. A designer would take all those into consideration, plus things like the sound properties of flooring chosen, safety features, traffic rating and blending in with the rest of your design project.

How to View a Designer vs. a Decorator

In a nutshell, a decorator is an expert at bringing a space to life through different elements of decor. A designer can do that – AND does it with an eye on human emotion and behaviors as it relates to the space to bring the perfect blend of functionality and beauty.

Both are experts in their fields and perform critical services for homeowners and deserve to be called by their proper titles. When you hire your next interior decorator or interior designer, make their day by calling them by their correct titles.

More questions about what Inspirations Interior Design can do for you? Please visit our Interior Design, Kitchen Remodeling or Bathroom Remodeling sections or Contact Us today.

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